Description of scriptor

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Scriptorium de Sevilla Pentateuco Ashburnham

Situation: Bishopric of Seville


It is known of the existence of a scriptorium, with a large library, in the bishopric of Seville at least since the times of San Leandro, appointed archbishop of this city in the year 584. In it were produced at that time the multiple copies of the extensive work of his brother San Isidoro and it seems that of many other foreign codices.

There are reports that his activity was maintained during the first centuries of Muslim domination, at least until the 10th century, when the Spanish Bible was created there.

Well-known authors: : San Leandro, San Isidoro, Juan de Sevilla.
Surviving works : Pentateuco Ashburnham, S. VII (no confirmado); Biblia Hispalense, S. X.


Cueva Santa (Santo Toribio de Liébana), siglo XSanto Toribio de Liébana

Situation: A 2,4km de Potes (Cantabria)


Founded, according to tradition, in the sixth century by Toribio, bishop of Palencia, it had to be repopulated in the times of Alfonso I by monks coming from the wide area that was remaining in Castile between the kingdom of Asturias and Al Andalus.
It was inhabited by Beato, a monk who apparently became abbot of the monastery and wrote, among many other works, the Commentaries to the Apocalypse, which was the subject of multiple copies, some of which are magnificent examples of the Spanish altomedieval miniature.

 Well-known authors: Beato de Liébana.
O Dei verbum, 785; De Adoptione Christi Filii Dei, 784; Beato Original, 776 (Missing).

Antifonario de León
San Cipriano del Condado(Desaparecido)

Situation: San Cipriano del Condado, 25km northeast of León.


Founded, according to tradition, in the sixth century by Toribio, bishop of Palencia, it had to be repopulated in the times of Alfonso I by monks coming from the wide area that was remaining in Castile between the kingdom of Asturias and Al Andalus.
The monastery, which came to have a scriptorium of some importance, was donated to that of Santiago de León in the testament of Ikila and should have disappeared by the year 1000, since there is no news of San Cipriano since 970.

Well-known authors: Totmundo, copyist and responsible for the Antiphonario.
Surviving works: Antifonario de León,
early 10th century.

Biblia Sacra de León
Santos Cosme y Damián de Abellar (Missing)

Situation: Canaleja, about 10km north of León.


Founded in the time of King Alfonso III who donated it in April 905 to Abbot Cixila and his community of monks from Al Andalus. He had a complete library, as recorded in the testament of that abbot, and his scriptorium must have been of importance, since the Sacred Bible, the only one of his works that has been preserved, was commissioned to this monastery by the abbot Mauro of the monastery of Santa María and San Martín de Albares.

In the Tumbo de León there is information about the monastery of Abellar and the list of its successive abbots until 1120 in which it became dependent on the bishopric of León with all its properties. No references are known after that date.

Well-known authors: Vimara (copyist), Juan Diácono (iluminador).
Surviving works:
Biblia Sacra de León, completed the year 920.

Beato de Tábara, torre del scriptorium
San Salvador de Tábara
Situation: Tábara, 37km southwest of Benavente (León).


Although architectural vestiges of a Visigoth construction from the 7th century have been found, it is known that it was re-founded in 878 by San Froilán and San Atilano, who became bishops of León and Zamora, and that it became in a very short time one of the most important monasteries of the kingdom of Leon, counting on a magnificent scriptorium directed by the “archipictor” Magius and in which, at his death, worked Emeterio and the nun Ende, possibly both residents also in Tábara, since according to Pijoán it was a duplex monastery.

But Tábara’s existence was very short, as it was destroyed by Almanzor in 988. Emeterio has left us an emblematic image of its tower, of which some remains.

Well-known authors: Magius, Emeterio, Ende, Senior.
Surviving works:
Beato de Escalada, 945?; Beato de Tábara (fragmento), 970; Beato de Gerona, 975.

Beato de ValcavadoSanta María de Valcavado

Situation: Villaluenga de la Vega, about 109km east of León.


Although the apocrypha Cronicón Hispalense, theoretically dated to the 10th century, speaks of a monastery built in 641 in the valley of Cavado, near the Pisuerga, there is no reliable information about its origin. It seems more likely that it was raised by Mozarabic monks at the dawn of the tenth century and should have reached some importance because in it resided the bishops of Palencia since their see had been razed by the Muslims.

We know that in his scriptorium Oveco copied his Blessed in 970 and is documented in donations of 1087 and 1179. His last remains were dismantled in the s. XVIII, although until recently some tombs were still preserved.

Well-known authors: Oveco.
Surviving works:
Beato de Valcavado, 970.

Beato de Burgo de OsmaMonasterio Real de San Benito

Situation: Sahagún, about 69km southeast of León.


It was founded by Mozarabic monks at the end of the ninth century, duramte the repopulation of the territories to the north of the Douro, on a church of previous time that was donated by Alfonso III, in which they venerated the relics of the martyrs Facundo -hence the name of Sahagún- and Primitivo.

Razed by Almanzor in 988, its period of greatest splendor coincided with the reign of Alfonso VI, promoter of the Cluniac reform, whose first center in the kingdoms of Castile and Leon was this monastery, which acquired great importance under the French abbot Bernardo, between 1080 and 1088, who subsequently went on to direct the Archbishopric of Toledo after its reconquest.

Since the implementation of the Cluniac reform, thanks to the protection of the monarchy, to the point that in Sahagún were buried Alfonso VI, his four wives and much of his descendants, came to have multiple properties and a large number of monks, as well as with a magnificent scriptorium, whose first major work according to Shailor and Willians would be the Blessed of Burgo de Osma, completed by Martino in 1086, in the heart of the Abbey of Bernard and considered one of the most important Spanish manuscripts of the 11th century.

Well-known authors: Martino.
Surviving works: Beato de Burgo de Osma , 1086; Misal de San Facundos, late 11th century; Leccionario de Sahagún, siglo XII.


San Pedro y Santo Tomás de Valeránica Biblia Leonesa de San Isidoro

Situation: Tordomar, 47km south of Burgos.


Monastery founded in the Condal period, which had a phase of great splendor in the second half of the tenth century, in which his scriptorium shone by the presence of Florencio, one of the most important miniaturists of the time, who besides illuminating the magnificent Leonese Bible, the almost disappeared Oña Bible and four foreign codices, was the preferred notary by Fernán González and his son García Fernández, for whom he wrote seven letters of donation. The monastery disappears at the end of the 10th century, possibly destroyed by Almanzor.

It is considered the possibility that this monastery was also the origin of Blessed Emilianense, although in this case, both by its date and by the style and quality of its miniatures, it undoubtedly has nothing to do with Florencio.

Well-known authors: Sancho (copista), Florencio (iluminador).
Surviving works: Beato Emilianense?, 930; Biblia Leonesa de San Isidoro, 960; Biblia de Oña. 943 (of which only 12 folios remain), S. X.

Santo Domingo de Silos Beato de Silos

Situation: Silos, 60km south of Burgos.


San Sebastián de Silos was founded towards the end of the IX century or the beginning of the X. Little is known about the history of the monastery during its first 150 years, possibly because it was razed by Almanzor. Its splendor as well as that of its scriptorium begins in the year 1041, with the appointment of Saint Dominic as abbot, and it is from the last quarter of the eleventh century when it produces its most interesting manuscripts.

Since then its library has been growing and now contains more than 140,000 volumes and San Millán is a monastery of great religious and cultural activity.

Well-known authors: Domingo y Muño (copyists), Pedro (illuminator).
More important works: Beato de Silos, 1109; Etimoligías de San Isidoro, 1072; Glosas; Silenses, 1100.


San Pedro de CardeñaBeato de Cardeña

Situation: Castrillo de Val, 11km southeast of Burgos.


It is considered by Benedictine monks as their first foundation in Spain, in which case it would exist since the eighth century. It was razed to the ground by the Arabs at the end of the ninth century who martyred and murdered the 200 monks who lived in that monastery, at the time of Abbot Sancho, canonized in 1603.

There are written references indicating that it was repopulated by Alfonso III in 899 and its activity was maintained until the confiscation of Mendizábal in 1836. Since 1942, Cistercian monks have restored monastic life.

There are written references indicating that it was repopulated by Alfonso III in 899 and its activity was maintained until the confiscation of Mendizábal in 1836. Since 1942, Cistercian monks have restored monastic life.

Well-known authors: Gómez, Sebastián (copistas), Endura (illuminator).
More important works: Beato de Cardeña, 1185; Morales de San Gregorio. 914; Biblia Visigoda de Cardeña, 912?; Biblia de Burgos, 1175; Libro de los Diálogos de San Gregorio Magno.


Beato de San Millán de la CogollaSan Millán de la Cogolla

Situation: 42km southwest of Logroño.


Founded by San Millán in the VI century as a hermit community, it became in the high Middle Ages, next to Santiago de Compostela, one of the two most important centres of worship in the peninsula. In it there was a library and a scriptorium of great activity, in which a significant amount of manuscripts was produced, which in part have reached us, with the particularity that in some appear the first words written in Spanish.

It always enjoyed the protection of the kings of Navarre and the counts of Castile and, due to its strategic location and its growing cultural development, it becomes a focus of permanent and enriching exchange of texts. In its library converge elements leoneses and castellanos with other navarros, the valley of the Ebro and andaluces, in addition to the novelties coming from beyond the Pyrenees.

All these influences were reflected in the production of his own scriptorium, so while his codices before 950 are characterized by a very modest ornamentation, In those after that date is enriched with complicated ornamental motifs such as laceries and zoomorphic intertwining, mixed in plant compositions, and sometimes with human figures, generating a style of its own, perfectly defined.

Well-known authors: Albino, Jimeno, Belasco, Pedro.
Surviving works: Colaciones de Casiano, 917; Moralia de Gregorio I; Etimologías de Isidoro, 946; Beato de El Escorial, 955; Códice Emilianense 46, 964; Liber CommicusBeato de San Millán, 990; Códice Emilianense, 992.

Códice AlbeldenseSan Martín de Albelda

Situation: Albelda de Iregua, 14km ​​south of Logroño.


Possibly its origin would also be an eremitic community of the Visigoth era. It is known that its foundation as a monastery occurred in 921 under the protection of Ordoño II de León. From then on it acquired great importance thanks to donations from the kings of Navarre, being residence of the bishops of Calahorra between 1033 and 1092. His scriptorium produced important manuscripts and became a great cultural center with a library that deserved the attention of Alfonso X the Wise in the late 13th century.

In the sixteenth century the Count of Aguilar could see a large number of manuscripts that still existed in a cave of the monastery, although currently only two are preserved: the Albeldense Codex, in the Library of the Monastery of the Escorial and the Monastery of Godescalco in the National Library of Paris.

Well-known authors: Vigila, Sarracinus, García, Gómez.
Surviving works: Códice Albeldense, 976; Virginitate de S. Ildefonso, 951.

Beato de Saint SeverAbadía de Saint Sever

Situation: Cap de Gascogne (Francia), 152km from San Sebastian.


Founded in 988 by William Sancho, Count of Gascony and his wife Urraca sister of Sancho III the Major of Navarre, it was always protected by the Dukes of Gascony. Located in the middle of the Way of Saint James, its period of greatest splendour occurred in the time of Abbot Gregory of Muntaner (from 1028 to 1072), when its properties extended from Bordeaux to the Kingdom of Navarre, south of the Pyrenees and its influence was felt in monasteries and bishoprics throughout the area, to the point that said abbot became bishop of three of those dioceses.

At that time it must have had a scriptorium and an important library, possibly with manuscripts from the south of the Pyrenees, even since its foundation, and at least one of them must have been a copy of Beato de Liébana’s Commentaries on the Apocalypse, which was copied in the middle of the 11th century, possibly in his scriptorium.

At present this copy, the first that, although respecting the structure and contents of the Beato de Liébana, is already illuminated in the purest Romanesque style, is in the National Library of Paris, is known as Beato de Saint Sever and, according to coast in the Blessed himself, was for the most part the work of a monk of Spanish name -Stephanus Garsia- and dedicated to the abbot Muntaner.

Well-known authors: Stephanus Garsia.
Surviving works: Beato de Saint Sever, hacia 1050.



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